By Randy Pierce
Property in four local area communities has been added to the Madison County Discovery Enterprise Zone as a result of legislation approved by the county board at its meeting held on Wednesday, May 18.
According to the resolution passed unanimously by the county board, new land measuring roughly 214 acres has been incorporated into the enterprise zone as broken down in the amounts indicated among the following municipalities: Troy – 32.30, Collinsville – 25.85, Glen Carbon – 83.50 and Highland – 72.80.
This brings the total acreage covered by the enterprise zone to 8659.83, or a little over 13.5 square miles as recommended by the county board grants committee chaired by John Eric Foster of Granite City while also consisting of Stacey Pace of Troy and seven others.
The Madison County Discovery Enterprise Zone was established in late 2014 and formally implemented less than two years later in conjunction with a statewide program, created by the Illinois legislature in 1991, designed to allow local governments to use this as a tool to stimulate economic development through the use of applicable incentives offered to appropriate business interests.
The other communities with parcels that are included in this Madison County zone, beyond those where it has been expanded as explained herein, are St. Jacob and Maryville. A public hearing concerning this expansion of the enterprise zone was held at the Gateway Convention Center in Collinsville in mid-February.
Each of the participating municipalities and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, which administers the program at the state level, still have to approve the expansion of the zone, if they have not done so already, as a follow up to the county board action.
The Illinois enterprise zone program, which was set up by the state legislature to help spur economic development, includes incentives like sales tax exemptions for building materials and manufacturing machinery purchased and used in the developments covered by its provisions plus investment tax credits, utility tax exemptions, deferred property tax collection and job creation tax credits. These types of financial breaks are intended to cause prospective developers to be more attracted to building in the enterprise zone areas by reducing their costs.
The long-range benefits of the enterprise zone program include increased real estate tax revenue for the government units involved after a qualifying depressed or unused property is developed for a purpose yielding a higher assessed valuation which in turn would theoretically lead to a reduced reliance on local taxpayers’ support while also creating additional employment opportunities.
Taxing units, such as school or fire districts, for example, affected by this program realize a greater amount of revenue in the long run from those tracts of real estate and structures located in enterprise zones because they produce much less income when existing in an undeveloped condition than when the assessed valuation goes up from the improvements made to the property.
It follows then that if such real estate tax income increases are funneled into the local taxing bodies, the impact on other property owners would be positive in terms of the taxes they pay by the increased sharing of that burden.